Apple’s customers often are accused of paying the so-called Apple Tax. Tax? Apple’s products often are priced higher than competitor products. We pay more. Critics call that a tax. What they fail to consider is the price also includes admittance into the secure ecosystem and the overall lower total cost of ownership Apple’s products provide.
These days Apple’s customers are being taxed by cellphone carriers. Let’s say you have a cellphone account with Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, or even AT&T. In most plans you get the Hot Spot option which allows you to tether an iPad onto the iPhone’s Wi-Fi so both enjoy an internet connection.
In some cases, cellphone carriers charge for the Hot Spot connection. Thank you, Apple, for providing a Bluetooth option, but how is such a charge not considered a tax? We pay for bandwidth with our cellphone accounts, and carriers charge extra just for the privilege of adding another device which uses the data we’re already paying for.
That’s a shameless carrier tax.
Guess what? Apple Watch Series 3 with the built-in 4G LTE cellphone connection gets charged another $10 just for the privilege of using the data we’re already paying for. That’s another carrier tax.
Isn’t it interesting that each of the major cellphone carriers in the U.S. charge the same amount? $10. Oh. Wait. Sprint charges $15 but deducts $5 if you’re on the auto-pay plan. To ease the pain of yet another shameless carrier tax, Verizon offers the first three months free, but there’s a one-time activation fee. How much? $30.
What about AT&T? $10 a month, three months free, but a $25 activation fee credit. For some customers. T-Mobile also has a three month introductory offer and gives Watch fulle 4G LTE data for $10 a month.
Price fixing? Looks like it to me.
What bothers me about carrier taxes is that competition is supposed to benefit the customer. In this case it does not. Each major cellphone carrier in the U.S. has a similar plan. Why? Because Watch is still tethered to the iPhone’s cellphone carrier. If your iPhone is T-Mobile you can’t have Watch with AT&T.
The tethered Watch remains and so does yet another shameless carrier tax. As much as I want a Watch with cellphone capability, I’ll wait until I can get one with a different carrier than my iPhone.
It’ll be a long wait.